Preventative Care

The old cliche still rings true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We feel the importance of proper oral hygiene and preventative care for children cannot be overstated. We've included the information below as a guideline for parents. For more information, please contact us at (250) 753-5437.

How Do I Prevent Cavities?

Particles of left over food and naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth combine to create cavities. However, establishing good habits for children and following simple oral care guidelines can help avoid or minimize a majority of issues.

For infants: Wipe plaque from teeth and gums with a clean washcloth. To avoid infant tooth decay, do not put your infant to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. Milk (even breast milk), formula and fruit juice all contain sugars that promote tooth decay. As soon as teeth are present, brushing with a rice size amount of fluoridated tooth paste should begin twice a day.

For older children: Make sure your children are brushing their teeth at least twice a day. You should brush your children’s teeth for them until they are old enough write cursive. Flossing should begin as soon as any two teeth are touching. You should floss your children’s teeth daily before night time brushing. Parental supervision of brushing and flossing should continue until children are at least seven or eight years old. Minimize or eliminate snacks in between meals that contain sugar. Be alert for hidden sugars in processed foods that may not ‘seem sugary’, like potato chips and other common snacks.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children begin regular dental visits on or before their first birthday. Keep in mind that you are laying the foundation for a lifetime of good oral heath! Your pediatric dentist will be pleased to offer further sensible suggestions on the prevention of cavities.

What Toothpaste Should My Child Use?

The early establishment of strong brushing habits are essential to a lifetime of healthy teeth. But, children require toothpaste formulated specifically for children as adult toothpastes often contain abrasives that can damage developing teeth. When buying toothpaste for a child, make sure it has been recommended for children by the American Dental Association. The ADA seal means it has been proven to be safe for children.It is also important that it contain Fluoride.

It’s important that children spit out toothpaste after brushing. To minimize the amount of fluoride swallowed, infants should use a rice size amount of fluoride. Children aged three and up can use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.

The Importance of Nutrition to Developing Teeth

Simply put: teeth need good nutrition to develop properly. A balanced diet is the key to healthy teeth and gums. Children should have one daily serving from each of the food groups, including fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, fish and eggs.

When it comes to snacks however, the deck often seems stacked against conscientious parents. It’s a fact that the majority of snacks marketed to children today lead to tooth decay. Even foods that don’t taste sweet often end up containing hidden sugar.

When providing snacks for your child, avoid processed foods, minimize sugars and focus on healthy alternatives like yogurt, fresh vegetables or cheese. Please ask us for our healthy snack sheet at your next appointment.

About Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers

Thumb sucking is natural and appears to provide infants and the very young feelings of security and relaxation. Generally thumb sucking and the use of pacifiers are only problematic if they go on for a long time. However, prolonged thumb sucking or the use of a pacifier can cause problems with tooth alignment and the proper growth of the mouth. Most children stop on their own between the ages of two and four. If you are attempting to change a thumb sucking habit, contact your pediatric dentist for advice.